Note: This post contains spoilers for ‘Stranger Things’ Seasons 1 and 2.
My husband and I tried really hard not to binge watch Season 2 of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things. We really did. Our plan was to savor the show slowly … methodically. But just like the rich chocolate bar I devoured as one episode turned into three, it was too good to resist.
When you fall in love with a show, you are really falling in love with the characters. It almost begins to feel like you know them, and as you witness their pain and triumph — it becomes your own.
From the mysterious Eleven to the endearing Dustin, there are so many characters to love on the show. However, I found myself most captivated by the mothers of Stranger Things. These moms face insurmountable trials and stop at nothing to protect their children. Similarly, as a mom to three boys, when I have a hard day, I try to remind myself that I am the only mom they have. I must give it my all, again and again, because I am their mother — just like the women in this series do.
In the first season of Stranger Things, we meet Joyce. Played by Winona Ryder, she is simply my hero. She seems to suffer from anxiety (which I can relate to) but is a tireless advocate for her two boys. When her son Will disappears, it is Joyce who will stop at nothing to find a way to get him back. She even discovers a way to communicate with him via Christmas lights. Crazy, I know — but if it works, what mother wouldn’t do it?
In Season 2, Joyce has her son back, but is dismayed to find that he is becoming increasingly plagued by terrifying “episodes” where he seems to return to the Upside Down (which is, as fans will know, a terrifying alternate universe). Despite Will’s assurances that all is well, Joyce has a motherly instinct that tells her something is very wrong.
When Joyce takes Will to the Hawkins facility to meet with a doctor, she is told to “just wait” when she voices her concerns. She passionately rebukes him; no one is going to tell her that this problem will be solved by doing nothing. You simply cannot fight a mother’s intuition! Joyce is unwavering in her determination to help her son; and never discounts his fears and concerns.
What mother hasn’t been graced with a “calm down” or even an eye-roll when voicing concerns about her child? My boys have all suffered with milk allergies or intolerances. It was so difficult when they were newborns and would act as though they were in pain; it was heartbreaking for me. I nursed them and did my best to cut out any foods that wouldn’t agree with them, but they still struggled. When I would try to explain to some friends or family members, they seemed to act as though I was being dramatic. I didn’t care though, because they weren’t my boys’ mother. I felt that I knew best.
There is another mother who is introduced in Season 2 of Stranger Things — Eleven’s mother. Hers is a heartbreaking tale. Eleven seeks her out, after asking Officer Hopper if she has a mother. What Eleven finds is a woman who seems to be debilitated beyond the point of being able to communicate. And yet, through Eleven, she does in fact communicate and is able to relay what she endured in an effort to save her daughter from the Hawkins facility.
I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say — she gave all that she had to protect her child.
Moms are as unique as the children they raise. We are all different but seem to share a common bond — if something (or someone) is threatening harm to our child, we will stop at nothing to save them. You can call us crazy or irrational, but it won’t matter — our child is what matters most.
Stranger Things has captivated a huge audience for a myriad of reasons. It’s suspenseful, nostalgic, funny, scary, and most importantly — it has heart. The heart of the show is driven by the characters; and often it’s the mothers who remind us what true courage is in the face of danger.